The troubled birth, triumphant revival, and peaceful death of Capitol Hill steakhouse Manhattan

If you’re looking for signs of a neighborhood food+drink bubble, yet another death announcement for a Capitol Hill restaurant won’t provide much useful evidence. The story behind the Manhattan steakhouse is just too weird and its end, too calm, and controlled.

But here’s the real question — who gets the Peter Gronquist sculpture that has become the 12th Ave restaurant’s symbol and mascot?

“He’s probably going to go home with the owner,” a woman who identified herself as a spokesperson for Manhattan and owner Boyoon Choi tells CHS.

The golden gun-horned ram’s head will certainly make a fun conversation piece. Continue reading

Capitol Hill’s Artist Trust preparing for 30-year celebration

A recent study by the Washington State Arts Commission found that Washington as a whole has a creative vitality (measured in terms of creative economy) 2% greater than the national average. King County’s creative vitality index is more than 200% greater than the national average. Capitol Hill might register an even greater figure, which is exactly why Artist Trust continues to call the neighborhood home after 30 years supporting the arts across the state.

One of the first nonprofits in the country to offer direct support to individual artists, Artist Trust has been a vanguard arts institution since its inception. Organizations like it are rare but, executive director Shannon Halberstadt insists, absolutely vital. The equation is simple: if art is valuable, then directly supporting the individuals who produce it is the most effective means of sustaining it.

“Individual artists are so freaking important,” Halberstadt said. “They’re bringing something that’s important to our culture: they’re our storytellers, they’re the people reflecting back to us the beauty that exists in humanity.”

2016 Benefit Art Auction — Call for Art
November 9th is the deadline to submit work for inclusion in Artist Trust’s 30th anniversary celebration slated for February 2016.

Only five more days to submit work for inclusion at Artist Trust‘s 30th anniversary celebration! Proceeds from the auction are directly invested in artists through unrestricted grantscareer trainingopportunities and resources. Donating to the auction is a wonderful way to sustain Artist Trust‘s mission of service to artists of all disciplines in our community.

Seated in her 12th Ave office filled with art and paperwork, Halberstadt said that Artist Trust has arrived at a set of twin milestones, signaling a moment of renewal but also continued growth for the organization that has since 1986 provided support, grants, and professional development to the individual artists of Washington from right here on Capitol Hill. Continue reading

Capitol Hill food+drink | Culture Club Cheese Bar brings ‘perfect pairings’ to 12th Ave

Cheese and Local Beer Flight

“It’s not a wine bar. It’s a cheese bar.”

Capitol Hill’s cheese monger has opened her Capitol Hill cheese bar.

Cheese, Sheri Lavigne says, is one of life’s “affordable luxuries.” Her new Culture Club Cheese Bar, opened in a 12th Ave microhousing development neighboring neighborhood microbrewery Outer Planet, is dedicated to showcasing that luxury in flights paired with northwest beers and cheese-friendly wines.

“Here’s exactly what it tastes like when you have a perfect pairing,” Lavigne says, ready to present yet another set of creamy, rich, flavors with just the right amount of cheesy funk or tang or both.

Five and a half years after she opened the Calf and Kid cheese counter inside Melrose Market, Lavigne has created a new venue where she can stretch out the relationship with customers and help take pressed curds to a whole new level but without requiring everyone to be a connoisseur.

“This is just as chill as Calf and Kid,” Lavigne said. “It’s not a wine bar. It’s a cheese bar.”

Continue reading

Welcome to the Hotel East Jeff: Project could bring boutique inn to Central District

(Images: Hybrid)

(Images: Hybrid)

Screen Shot 2015-10-27 at 4.19.12 PM

A swarm of development and new businesses on E Jefferson will be joined by a Central Seattle rarity if the plans for a new development on the street go through. A project to create a four-story hotel and bakery just east of 12th and Jefferson will go in front of the East Design Review Board Wednesday night.

The design proposal for the “Art Inn” concept at 1225 E Jefferson captures some of the rapid change underway in the area just east of Seattle University:

The site is bordered with an older craftsman style house to the west. There is a historic apartment building to the south directly across the alley. Across 13th Ave from the site is a vacant parking lot, and beyond that a one-story structure that is currently being renovated into a steak restaurant. Across E Jefferson St to the North, is a three-story historic building with retail on the ground floor and apartments above. The neighborhood is currently undergoing a change of character, with many of the older residences being converted into multi-family buildings. Apart from residential development, the institutional building of Swedish Medical, Seattle University and King County Juvenile have a dominate presence in the area.

Continue reading

Seven Beef turning quartered cows into a longterm investment in steak on E Jefferson

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“I like the fact that we’re going all the way.”

Aging beef is a difficult science but you have to be an artist to persevere. Air flow, temperature, humidity, all conspire to ruin the meat, take a prized, grass-fed cow’s life in vain.

A troubled meat artist is now hard at work on E Jefferson where bandsaws have joined the kitchen knives. Eric Banh and sister Sophie, the creators of upscale and downscale Vietnamese projects Monsoon and Ba Bar, have finally opened Seven Beef, their huge, year-delayed, steak-focused, “whole animal” restaurant. Aging is, indeed, difficult.

“This is a young person’s game,” Eric Banh tells CHS. “You have to lug big portions of a cow. Very physical. I like the fact that we’re going all the way.” Continue reading

Annual anti-police brutality protest moves off Capitol Hill… mostly


A suspect was taken into custody outside the precinct (Image: CHS)

An annual protest against police brutality may have moved off Capitol Hill this year, but the East Precinct wasn’t left totally out of the action.

On Thursday afternoon, an officer inside the 12th and E Pine police station said he saw a male spray painting a column on the outside of building. The suspect left a smear of red paint before being chased into Northwest Liquor & Wine across the street where he was apprehended, according to SPD radio traffic.

In year’s past, the October 22nd Coalition to Stop Police Brutality has held relatively peaceful marches around the East Precinct to call attention to police shootings and racially motivated harassment. This year, the group planned to hold its rally, “No More Stolen Lives, Say Their Names,” in Westlake Park at 5 PM.

Families of people killed by police will gather to tell their stories, accompanied by people in solidarity from all walks of life who will be reading the names of just some of the 1000s of lives stolen.

The protest kicks off three days of #RiseUpOctober actions across the country. Last year, a group of about 30 protestors defied a Seattle downpour to march from Garfield High School to the East Precinct.

Protestors outside the E Precinct in 2014. (Image: Alex Garland)

Protestors outside the E Precinct in 2014. (Image: Alex Garland)

Mighty-O Capitol Hill plans superheroic Halloween opening

This guy from Hilloween 2014 revelry might qualify (Image: CHS)

This guy from Hilloween 2014 revelry might qualify (Image: CHS)

Seattle organic donut provider Mighty-O is set to open its 12th and Madison cafe with a Halloween celebration of superheroes:

Capitol Hill residents are in for an extra treat this Halloween – Mighty-O donuts is opening their third café over the holiday weekend. Seattle’s favorite organic, made-from-scratch donut maker is celebrating its new location and super-delicious donuts with a superhero-themed event on Saturday, October 31st and Sunday, November 1st (7am-1pm), giving out free mini donuts. Plus, those who come dressed as their favorite superhero will be entered to win a donut a day for a year.

In July, CHS reported that Mighty-O would be moving in after Dani Cone announced the five-year-old High 5 Pie had outgrown its original home at 12th and Madison and was “moving into a fantastic commercial production kitchen with our eyes on making even more pies and coming up with places to serve them to you.”

UPDATE: Mighty-O will, indeed, be making their donuts on site — eventually: “Donuts will be made at Capitol Hill! But not quite yet as they finish the bakery build out. Until then, donuts are delivered hot and fresh each morning from one of the other locations.”

Like many elements of food and drink, the Capitol Hill donut/doughnut segment is about to be well-served. After Top Pot held down the fort for years as the only longtime dedicated donut provider in the neighborhood, 2015 is bringing a sweet dough explosion to Capitol Hill. Continue reading

Capitol Hill bicycle cafe race down to two — for now

One of the three competitors in the Tour de Pike/Pine-12th Ave Bicycle Cafe ride is out of the race.

Entrepreneur Brandon Waterman tells CHS his plans for the Alley Cafe bike shop and hangout in an E Pine alley won’t work out after early planning revealed the project would require expensive seismic work.

Waterman’s project was envisioned for a unique space on the backside of the same building home to Purr and Vermillion down the alley off E Pine between the East Precinct HQ and the Sunset Electric building. A designer at nearby creative agency Creature, Waterman said the core idea of his project will live on but that some elements connected to the “super unique” space will be left behind. Continue reading

Rhein Haus, Derschang bar managers team up to create ‘Capitol Hill exclusive’ Perfect Strangers beer

(Image: Perfect Strangers)

(Image: Perfect Strangers)

Ryan Minch (Rhein Haus) and Myles Burroughs (the Derschang Group) two of the guys on the other side of the bar making the Capitol Hill food and drink economy click have teamed up with a Washington State brewery to create a new beer. And you’ll only find it on Capitol Hill:

Perfect Strangers IPA No. 1 is the product of a collaboration between Myles and Ryan with Everybody’s Brewing using a 15 barrel brewing system. When approached, Everybody’s Brewing responded with great enthusiasm allowing Ryan and Myles to collaborate with head brewer Jess to conceptualize and execute a unique grain mash and hop profile to be finished with Washington-grown, organic, granny smith apples to create a refreshing, bright IPA meant to be drunk fresh during the late summer and early fall.

Minch tells CHS he and Burroughs turned to White Salmon, Washington’s Everybody’s Brewing to create their brew with a recipe using “malted barley, rye, and wheat in the grain bill” that gives the IPA “a dark, golden bronze color with a combination of American Cascade Hops and German Merkur Hops.”  The brew was finished with Washington grown, organic apples. “Although the apple flavor is subtle, the juice quietly provides just enough bright acidy to complete the beer,” the press release reads.

Minch said the deal with Everybody’s Brewing called for the partners to purchase all beer brewed from the collaboration through the distributor — you brew it, you buy it. The partners are planning to create more “unique, limited-release offerings” in the future.

The beer is now available at Rhein Haus’s Seattle location, Linda’s, Smith, and Tallulah’s “while supplies last.”


Capitol Hill food+drink | Peloton at center of bicycle cafe pack coming to Pike/Pine, 12th Ave


Team Peloton: Dustin Riggs, Mckenzie Hart, Paul Dano, and Aaron Grant

IMG_2809A tightly packed group of businesses combining passion for the bicycle with food, drink, and repair and maintenance services is pedaling its way around Capitol Hill. As the yellow jersey in the race of big city trends, you’re probably not going to be surprised to learn that the streets of Capitol Hill and the Central District will soon be home to not one, or two, but three bicycle cafes.

“Many cyclists kind of pick up the sport and it leads to a rabbit hole,” Dustin Riggs tells CHS. “There is a lot of culture around it.”

Riggs and his partners hope to clip into that two-wheeled enthusiasm as they prepare to open Peloton at 12th and Jefferson by early October.

“The coffee and the beer and the bikes. It’s just a lifestyle kind of thing,” he said. Continue reading